Microbial fuel cells for energy self-sufficient domestic wastewater treatment-a review and discussion from energetic consideration

Olivier Lefebvre, Arnaud Uzabiaga, In Seop Chang, Byung Hong Kim, How Yong Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As the microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology is getting nearer to practical applications such as wastewater treatment, it is crucial to consider the different aspects that will make this technology viable in the future. In this paper, we provide information about the specifications of an energy self-sufficient MFC system as a basis to extrapolate on the potential benefits and limits of a future MFC-based wastewater treatment plant. We particularly emphasize on the importance of two crucial parameters that characterize an MFC: its electromotive force (E emf) and its internal resistance (R int). A numerical projection using state-of-art values (E emf∈=∈0.8 V and R int∈=∈5 Ω) emphasized on the difficulty at this moment to reach self-sufficiency using a reasonable number of MFCs at the laboratory scale. We found that a realistic number of MFCs to provide enough voltage (=5 V) at a sufficient current (=0.8 A) to power a pump requiring 4 W would be of 13 MFCs in series and 10 stacks of MFCs in parallel, resulting in a total number of 130 MFCs. That would result in a treatment capacity of 144 L of domestic wastewater (0.5 g-COD L-1) per day. The total MFC system would be characterized by an internal resistance of 6.5 Ω.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume89
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Bioelectric Energy Sources
Waste Water
Technology

Keywords

  • Electromotive force
  • Internal resistance
  • Microbial fuel cells
  • Scalability
  • Stack configuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Cite this

Microbial fuel cells for energy self-sufficient domestic wastewater treatment-a review and discussion from energetic consideration. / Lefebvre, Olivier; Uzabiaga, Arnaud; Chang, In Seop; Kim, Byung Hong; Ng, How Yong.

In: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol. 89, No. 2, 01.2011, p. 259-270.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lefebvre, Olivier ; Uzabiaga, Arnaud ; Chang, In Seop ; Kim, Byung Hong ; Ng, How Yong. / Microbial fuel cells for energy self-sufficient domestic wastewater treatment-a review and discussion from energetic consideration. In: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2011 ; Vol. 89, No. 2. pp. 259-270.
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